Frequently Asked Questions

What is CJII?

CJII is the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., established CJII to invest criminal asset forfeiture funds in impactful projects that will improve public safety, develop broad crime prevention efforts, and promote a fair and efficient justice system in New York City.

What areas is District Attorney Vance’s CJII focusing on? How were these identified?

Take a look at our focus areas to see where we are investing.

We reviewed and analyzed existing research on a number of topics affecting public safety in NYC, including domestic violence, victim and witness services, crime prevention, diversion and reentry, and substance use. We also reached out to more than 250 community stakeholders–experts, practitioners, academics, and leaders in city agencies–to learn more about promising practices, service gaps, and ideas that could have a lasting impact.

We developed these focus areas based on everything we learned through this process and where there were opportunities to make a deep and lasting impact.

I have an idea for something that I think could be funded by District Attorney Vance’s CJII. What can I do?

Look at our focus areas to see where your idea might fit. Then look at current funding opportunities to see if there are open grant opportunities that match your idea. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Additional inquiries may be sent to cjii@islg.cuny.edu.

What role is CUNY ISLG playing in this?

The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., selected the City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) through a competitive process to provide technical assistance for the investment of the criminal asset forfeiture funds. ISLG provides guidance and oversight to award recipients and conducts performance measurement across the CJII.

What are criminal asset forfeiture funds?

Criminal asset forfeiture funds come from settlements that the Manhattan DA’s Office made with international banks–BNP Paribas S.A., HSBC Holdings plc, and Standard Chartered Bank–that violated U.S. sanctions.

The $808 million in forfeiture funds at the Manhattan DA’s Office are dedicated to improving public safety and promoting fairness in the criminal justice system, and the DA’s Office has invested in a number of significant initiatives to that end. The DA’s Office has set aside $250 million to design and implement a transformative, multi-layered community-based strategy that will undergo careful evaluation and serve as a proof of concept and model for other jurisdictions throughout the country. This subset of funds forms the foundation of District Attorney Vance’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative.

What is the process for distributing these funds?

Under CJII, there are a range of funding methods, including requests for proposals.

Proposals are reviewed by ISLG staff and thought-leaders from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. ISLG will sometimes call on its CJII advisors, members of its advisory board, and external experts for input. ISLG is managing the solicitation and contracting process.

The Manhattan DA Office’s executive committee–which is made up of seven members of the executive staff of the Manhattan DA’s Office–makes all decisions regarding the investment priorities of CJII.

What is the process for obtaining funding through District Attorney Vance’s CJII? How are awards granted?

See Funding Opportunities

What is the timeframe for District Attorney Vance’s CJII?

The DA’s Office has invested in a number of significant initiatives already. CJII RFPs are being released on a rolling basis for the next 3 to 5 years.